BY KASWAR KLASRA
Kaswar Klasra: Can you tell us how did the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan has affected Afghanistan in past 20 years? What substantial injuries have been caused to Afghanistan’s politics, society, infrastructure, and people?
Zabiullah Mujahid: In the name of Allah, the Merciful. First of all, thank you for coming to interview us. The second thing is that, naturally, every country that falls under slavery, all the infrastructures come under attack. First, the respected people of that nation are dishonored. Second, the people of that nation are humiliated and killed. Thirdly, the foundations and buildings of his people are destroyed. The economy is severely traumatized and its independence is under question. All these calamities and misfortunes we have experienced in the past twenty years have caused great losses to Afghanistan. We are grateful to Allah that period of slavery has ended for us. But, we have paid very high price for it. It was delivered from great trouble.
Kaswar Klasra: The United States claims that it restored peace and stability in Afghanistan after its armed invasion of Afghanistan. what do you think of this? (KK)
Zabiullah Mujahid: This is not correct. During last twenty years, following US invasion of Afghanistan, The US and NATO forces had failed to bring peace and prosperity in Afghanistan. Let me tell you that hundreds of innocent people were killed every day and more than 100 houses destroyed every week. Additionally, thousands of Afghans were put in prison. The peace only made it way to our homeland soon after US withdrawal. We have maintained law and order across the country soon after giving birth to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. And now, Afghanistan has become a stable country.
Kaswar Klasra: After the withdrawal of U.S. troops, drones continue to regularly attack all parts of Afghanistan. Media reports say that U.S. drone strikes have killed, injured, many innocent Afghan people. Is this true? Can you tell me the real event you know?
Zabiullah Mujahid: Unfortunately, it’s true. Afghanistan has been physically freed from the American forces However, their drones are still infringing on the air space of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. We have also condemned this move in our announcements and called it a loss for both countries.
Recent drone attacks have killed a number of innocent civilians. In a number of cases drones had attacked our civilians. A few weeks ago, Americans conducted a drone strike in a remoted district of Afghanistan. They claimed to assassinated ‘Zawahiri’, but this has not been proven yet. We have also protested and complained. We have asked Americans to immediately stop drone strikes. America and Afghanistan should move forward for a new peaceful life and lay the groundwork for establishing good relations. Flying drones or invading space or trespassing under the border is harmful, Afghans do not accept it and it should be stopped.
Kaswar Klasra: The United States is busy ending the war in Afghanistan. Do you think its real goal is to end the war in Afghanistan? Which people or organizations do you think have benefited in this war? (KK)
Zabiullah Mujahid: The war in Afghanistan ended on the day when the American forces left Afghanistan. There’s no war in Afghanistan following US withdrawal. Of course, Some small criminal groups are still carrying out anti-state activities in remote areas of the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan. Please note, It can happen in any country. The Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan has successfully maintained law and order across country. Yet, a number of small groups including separatists, smugglers and ‘Takfiri’ groups are still carrying activities but at very low level. We are dealing with them accordingly. So far, many criminals have been caught, punished, and stopped.
Kaswar Klasra: The United States said it has invested huge amounts of money to help Afghanistan rebuild, and they have done it specifically. Is this true? Your comments pls.
Zabiullah Mujahid: No, this is not correct. The US-led war had damaged the infrastructure to great extent. It had adversely impacted the life of Afghans. The people who lived in the cities, they become poor. War brought poverty and hunger across Afghanistan. If they had built infrastructure, we would have factories, The number of unemployed people would not be this high. Let me make it loud and clear that no work was done on the infrastructure, even the buildings they built for military operations were made of wood. They had not built it basically yet and the roads they had built to transport their soldiers were also built in a very superficial way. As you might have observed the condition of roads and yourself, Americans had not done any basic work in Afghanistan. Of course, what we see in Kabul or in the big cities where the construction works have been done, it has been done by the Afghan traders themselves. The sensitive people of Afghanistan have done it on their own, they had spent from their pocket. This is not the result of the occupation, but the efforts of the people of Afghanistan. Why, despite bringing a lot of money here, the Americans did not spend anything in proportion to it, and the losses were even greater.
Kaswar Klasra: In the name of counter-terrorism, the United States attacks al-Qaida groups active in Afghanistan. What do you think of this? Do you think Alqaida had presence here?
Zabiullah Mujahid: The US had carried out an attack in Kabul and it was claimed that Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda, was targeted here. It is only a claim . Not proved yet. I don’t think such a group ( Alqaeda) or such individuals are present in Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Even, there is no any individual or group related to foreign groups, present across the territory of Afghanistan. We are also serious about them, we also had made commitments in the Doha Agreement. Based on those commitments, we do not allow anyone to use the territory of Afghanistan against the United States and its allies or other countries. It is not in our interest. We are serious about this and will prevent it ourselves. There is no need for the Americans to come and operate in Afghanistan, or to show concern in Afghanistan. As a responsible government, we have a responsibility to not allow use the soil of Afghanistan against anyone in the world.
Kaswar Klasra: How does the Taliban government plan to restore the Afghan economy caused by the war.
Zabiullah Mujahid: The Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan is putting all the available resources on developing Afghanistan’s economy.
All our experts in the sectoral ministries, our scholars, and experts who have expertise in different fields, are putting their energies on revival of economy of Afghanistan. I am confident that their efforts will put Afghanistan’s economy on track.
For example, the Qoshtipeh Canal is a very big basic and economic project, which we have started with a lot of strength, so far fifteen percent of the work has been completed. kabul- Herat highway, which is a very long road, is under construction, the Salang road is under construction. In the railway sector, we are planning to extend the railway from Uzbekistan to Pakistan. The survey is about to start. The TAPI project, which is a very important project, will be surveyed It will start soon, it will reach Herat. Other projects including KASA 1000 and other projects are very important and infrastructure projects. I think these projects, if completed on time, would put the economy of Afghanistan on track.
Kaswar Klasra: The United States had staged a debate on human rights in Afghanistan at the United Nations to cancel Relations with the alliance of Arab and African NATO countries, forcibly occupied Afghanistan. It has refused to refund to return Afghanistan’s Foreign reserves. What is your opinion on this?
Zabiullah Mujahid: We have already mentioned that the policy of the Islamic Emirate is that a new page should be started with the United States and must not be a page of war and conflict. Rather, this should be a page of transaction, interaction and the creation of positive diplomatic relations. Islamic Emirate is very serious about it. The are certain issues including US sanctions on travelling on some of our members. We want the US to reconsider such restriction as they are not positive. We hope that the US ould change this policy . We invite the United States and the rest of the world, which do not have a good relationship with us, to sit with us across the table to discuss issues. We can solve all the problems through positive interaction.
Kaswar Klasra: Any message to the people of the world, especially Americans.
Zabiullah Mujahid: We are in favor of interaction; we are in favor of creating positive relations. We are in favor of dialogue. Common people of America should also understand that the people of Afghanistan are not their enemies. And we don’t want to be hostile to them. They imposed these days of war on Afghanistan. We have passed that period. Now we want to start a period of good interaction. Common people of the US as well as the investors of war are responsible for what the common Afghans had to suffer during the war. Now, we want Businessmen to come to Afghanistan to invest. Afghanistan is rich of natural resources. It offers great opportunities for the investors. We are ready to remove American’s concerns through dialogue. We want the Americans to stop their rulers and politicians from jumping into conflict with us. Let me tell you, the people of America and Afghanistan do not have problems between them. On behalf of our people, I invite the government and the people of the US to interacts with us. Let’s begin a new chapter of prosperity and great future.
First published by Pakistan Observer